Imagine you’re a Fleet Street reporter at a British tabloid with a pocketful of cash. You meet a trusted source at a pub, a police officer who tells you about the royal family’s confidential schedule in exchange for a small gratuity. You hand over a few quid and rush off with a photographer to stake out a health club where Camilla Parker-Bowles is toning her abs. Guess what: If you work for Rupert Murdoch, you may have violated U.S. law.
For a man who cherishes his privacy, the attention Jeffry Picower received on Thursday must have made him wince. On the same day that Forbes revealed he had earned a coveted spot in the magazine’s list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, a new court filing added $2.1 billion to the $5.1 billion he is alleged to have earned from his participation in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.